Match Rifle Imperial
Match Rifle Imperial Meeting 2019
Thursday 11th – Wednesday 17th July
What is Match Rifle?
Match Rifle can be thought of as an extreme, experimental version of Target Rifle. Whilst the same calibres are permitted (.308” Winchester / 7.62 x 51 mm NATO and .223” Remington / 5.56 x 45 mm NATO), Match Rifle starts at 1000 yards where TR finishes, and goes up to 1200 yards.
Unlike TR a rest may be used to support or steady the hand supporting the rifle (a sling as used in TR is also an option), but the rifle may not be directly supported by a rest or bipod.
Whilst most people shoot Match Rifle prone, a sizeable minority shoot supine (“back position”), and a small number shoot seated at tables.
Most competitions are either two convertible sighters and 15 or 20 to count. The Albert is the only individual competition fired over three distances, requiring 15 shots at each distance, but there are NO sighters. So it’s not just a test, if you have got your elevation and wind zero right, but also if you have nerves of steel. The final distance will see the competitors squaded with their closest rival, which adds that little bit more of excitement, not just for the shooter but also spectators.
In true MR style you will be able to find a variety of shooting positions on the firing point – prone (with most people using a rest), supine (yes, there are still plenty of people shooting ‘on their back’) , and – for those who are unable to shoot prone or supine on medical grounds – shooting seated at a table. Most people are now using telescopic sights and almost everyone is using handloads, although it is not a requirement to take part, it probably is if you would like to be at the top of the leader board.
The weekend also sees an aggregate for those shooting with the NRA’s GGG ammunition, so anyone wanting to have a go with their TR on the longer ranges, and sample the friendly experience of Match Rifle shooting, is very welcome.
The Hopton is the Match Rifle equivalent of the Grand Aggregate in the Target Rifle world, it is shot over four days on Stickledown at three distances – 1000, 1100 and 1200 yards. It is the aggregate of seven individual competitions (several are shot over more than one distance) and the winner of the Hopton will have fired a minimum of 205 rounds.
Most competitions are shot in two details and as all the competitions take place on the same range, it is very sociable with competitors enjoying discussing latest wind challenges, new developments in ammo making and anecdotes from the last detail over a cup of tea in one of the nearby club houses and lodges or behind the firing point.
The results are almost immediately available with the stats office just behind the 1200-yard firing point and a big screen leaving no one in doubt which position they are holding in the Hopton at all times. It makes for a competitive atmosphere and encourages not just those heading for the top places, but also those hoping to beat their piers and fellow countrymen as each shooter’s nationality is listed as well.
Any Rifle Extras
For those wanting the opportunity to warm up before the rigours of the Hopton, the Any Rifle Extras allows the option of shooting at each distance on Pre Thursday (11th July).
The FW Jones on First Sunday (14th July) is open to club teams of 4 shooters from.
The Elcho Match on First Tuesday (16th July) is a coached team shoot between the four home nations, first held in 1862. Everyone tends to get involved in one way or another and it’s worth coming along to watch the final distance. 1200 always has its challenges – rarely is the match won after 1000 and 1100 yards!
Proceedings end on on a sociable note with the MR Prize Giving in the English Eight Club garden immediately after the Elcho.